Michelle Buras' Blog
When choosing a house or condo to live in for the next several years, comfort, convenience, and affordability are among the most important factors to keep in mind. A fourth item that many real estate agents would add to that list is "location."
The location of your next home is crucial for many reasons -- not the least of which is future resale value. Ideally, you want the value of your home to appreciate over time, which will help improve your financial situation. Whether you decide to upgrade or downsize in your next real estate purchase, the equity you've built up can benefit both your lifestyle goals and real estate objectives.
In addition to the investment features of picking a good location for your next home, there are also several other worthwhile advantages.
- A reasonable commute time, preferable under a half an hour, will help reduce your stress level, enable you to spend more time with your family, and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle. A short commute can also help you save money on gas, highway tolls, depreciation, and insurance. One way to reduce your driving time is to look into telecommuting possibilities at your job. Even if you have a relatively long commute to work, that can be offset by having the freedom to work from home a couple days a week. Fortunately, more and more businesses are realizing the mutual benefits of allowing or even encouraging telecommuting. While it may be necessary to prove to your employer that your productivity won't suffer when you're working from home, doing so can save you money, lower your stress, and improve your overall quality of life. Let's face it: There are a lot more fulfilling things you can do with your time than getting stuck in traffic jams and feeling frazzled when you return home every night!
- A convenient location can also mean proximity to shopping, entertainment, recreation, family, friends, and places of worship. Being close to medical, dental, and veterinary services can also make your life a lot easier -- especially when you need to get there quickly.
- From a health and fitness standpoint, it also pays to live within a short distance to public parks, tennis courts, golf courses, bike paths, gyms, and bodies of water for swimming, kayaking, and other aquatic sports.
- For younger families, being close to childcare resources -- whether it be a daycare center or nearby (and available) relative -- can also be a major factor in getting to work on time, making sure your children are properly cared for, and minimizing chaos in your life!
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If you’re a dog lover, you’re probably going to want to move into a community that caters to your love of animals. As you cruise different communities to find just the right place to live, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for if you want your pooch to feel at home as well.
You See A Lot Of Dogs Around
This may seem obvious, but it’s something to be aware of on your home search. If you see a lot of dogs, you know that the people in your neighborhood are supportive of dogs. If there doesn’t seem to be too many four-legged friends running around, then maybe the community won’t be as receptive to your own pet. You would hate to move into a home, only to find out that your neighbors really don’t like dogs. This could be a sign of future problems in the neighborhood.
You See Dogs At The Parks Nearby
If you are riding around a community, exploring, and see plenty of dogs at the park, or even better, a dog park, you’ll know that you have chosen a good place to live. This shows that dogs are welcome in the area. If there’s a playground nearby, but many “no dogs allowed” signs, you could be in a place where dogs aren’t welcome many places. You want to feel that your dog is welcome especially in outdoor spaces.
There Are Facilities For Dogs Nearby
If you can easily find a groomer, a vet, and a pet supply store nearby, you know that you’re in a good place for your dog. You can see that there’s a community surrounding you that cares about animals. These types of facilities allow you to keep your pet healthy, clean, and happy. You may even have easier access to other important things for you and your dogs like pet sitters, dog walkers, and more.
You Can Find Plenty Of Walking Paths
If you love to walk, you’ll probably be looking for this feature in a neighborhood anyways, but walking paths are a good sign that dogs are welcome in a place. You need sidewalks, places without a lot of traffic, and perhaps some trails to help keep your dog active and healthy. Dogs will also love exploring new places often to keep their keen senses in check.
Look At Local Establishments
If you stop into local coffee shops or restaurants and see dogs there, you definitely know for sure that you have chosen a great community for dog lovers. This is a sign that dogs are a part of everyday life, accepted, welcome, and almost required! Pets are a part of the family in a community like this. Your new home will not only be great for you but for your beloved pet as well.
4 Improvements That Increase the Value of Your Home
Home improvement projects add useability, beauty and convenience to your house, and those characteristics make the house more desirable to potential buyers. If you’re considering a home improvement project, here are four that will increase the value of your home.
1. An Addition Increases Square Footage
One of the most impactful home improvements you can make is putting on an addition. Whether a family room, bedroom or home office, an addition adds useable square footage to your house -- and extra space is something that every prospective homebuyer can appreciate.
While not a perfect measure because value varies with the type of room, you can roughly estimate how much value an addition would have by multiplying the average sale price per square foot in your neighborhood by how many square feet an addition is.
2. A Finished Basement Increases Useable Space
A cheaper alternative to installing an addition, finishing a basement is relatively easy and likewise increases useable space.
Exactly what constitutes a finished basement can vary. You might simply want some shelves, carpeting and a few games, or you may want a full in-law apartment that’s complete with a bathroom and kitchenette. However you finish your home’s basement, though, the project will add value because anything is more useful than undeveloped storage space.
3. A Complete Kitchen Remodel
If you’re tired of cooking in an outdated kitchen, remodeling your kitchen will improve your day-to-day experience and let you recoup some of your investment. You probably won’t get the full cost of a kitchen remodel back when you sell your home, but you can regain most of the improvement’s cost if you’re wise in the changes that you make. Additionally, a remodeled kitchen can help sell your house faster if you’re in a slow real estate market.
4. A Master Bathroom Remodel
A house’s master bathroom is usually one of the three main rooms that potential homebuyers look at (with the kitchen and master bedroom being the other two). Thus, a master bathroom remodel is an improvement project that many will appreciate and be willing to pay for.
When you remodel a master bathroom, consider what high-end aesthetics and luxury features would add the most perceived value from someone else’s perspective. Then, pick the ones you think will have the biggest benefit and that you personally like.
Ask a Real Estate Agent
For help deciding how to approach any of these home improvement projects, get in touch with one of our real estate agents. We’re professionals who every day see what attracts prospective homebuyers, and we’d be glad to help you design an improvement that will add true value to your home.